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Weekly Geeks #25: Books Guide

This week’s Weekly Geek challenge is to write your own holiday gift giving guide of books.  Dewey asked participants to think about the books you read, come up with categories for the books, and post a guide with blurbs about the books and categories you’ve chosen.

I’m going to do my book recommendations based on what kind of person I think might like these books.  I thought I was being clever, but gautami tripathy at My Own Little Reading Room, Ali at wordcoupia, and Melanie at The Indextrious Reader also have great lists organized this way too.  Check them out!

For the Lifetime movie lover you know, I recommend author Joyce Carol Oates. Oates writes books that, in terms of plot, probably belong on daytime television.  However, her well-developed characters and beautiful use of language make the stories much more interesting and sophisticated.  The Gravedigger’s Daughter, The Falls, or We Were The Mulvaney’s are all great choices.

For the secret political junkie, I recommend A Prayer for the City by Buzz Bissinger.  This book follows the first term of Philadephia mayor Ed Rendell.  Bissinger was given full access to the mayor’s office, and with it he writes a fantastic insiders look at government that is never dull.  Read more of my gushing about this book here.

If you know a neurotic author, get them a David Sedaris book.  I wasn’t thrilled with his latest book When You Engulfed in Flames, but lots of people liked it.  All of his older books are good, but Holidays on Ice might be a particularly good stocking stuffer.

English nerds would love Word Freak by Stephen Fastsis (about the secret world of competitive Scrabble) or Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (a memoir about a secret book club that met in Iran during the 1990s).  Both books tugged on my own secret (or not-so-secret) English nerdery.

If you know a fairy-tale lover, I think Fables: Legends in Exile would be a great way to get them to think about fairy tales in a different way.  Bill Willingham’s graphic novel series re-imagines our favorite fairy tale characters and have been very popular around the blogosphere right now.  Similarly, a Shakespeare lover might like A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, a modern re-telling of King Lear set on a farm in Iowa.

Your favorite card shark would appreciate Ben Mezrich’s book Bringing Down the House, a story about the infamous about the MIT blackjack team.  And finally, if you know a hard-working woman, I recommend Water Cooler Daries by Joni B. Cole and B.K. Rakhrav.

So, there is my holiday gift-giving guide.  if you have any more questions or want suggestions about memoirs, literary journalism, or other English nerd books, I’m your gal!  Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at sophisticated[dot]dorkiness[at]gmail.com.

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  • Louise November 20, 2008, 9:53 am

    Great list I think. I am actually interested in literary journalism (or journalism in general, preferably modern journalism from the 60s and onward) although it may be overkill to begin reading books in English about journalism in English as I am Danish…I don’t know?!

  • Kim November 21, 2008, 1:27 pm

    Louise: Well, there are books about journalism, and then there are books that are about other topics written in the style of “literary journalism.” Those are the books I really love. Are there any topics you’re particularly interested in?